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“It’s the dark story of Adèle’s double life as a sex addict, constantly cheating on her husband, though not for pleasure,” Slimani explains at the award ceremony. This is a book about addiction; a book that asks if love can survive betrayal.” Slimani tells me how she chose the theme. I watched television when I was nursing him at night and that’s how I learned that Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been arrested in New York.

All the newspapers published articles about sex addiction, as if it were a new disease.

But none of them were about somehow slipped passed Moroccan censors, but it’s a safe bet no Moroccan publisher would have dared print it.

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The 2014 winner, Reda Dalil’s , addressed the persecution of homosexuals, another frequent theme in Moroccan literature. The beautiful house purchased by her husband is her prison.

Slimani is the first woman to win the Prix La Mamounia. “Sometimes she looks like a crazed bird, knocking its beak against the window panes, breaking its wings on the door knobs,” Slimani writes.

Like most of the Moroccan elite, Slimani was educated in French.

It’s important for north African writers to show they have other things to say.” Leila Slimani, whose novel In the Garden of the Ogre has just won the Prix La Mamounia literary prize in Morocco.

Photograph: C Hélie Gallimard , the main character, Adèle wakes up with her face in an ashtray, crawls on all fours to vomit in the toilet, and eventually makes it to the shower where she realises her genitals are bruised and bleeding.

The previous evening, Adèle, an attractive, middle-class Parisian, put on her makeup while waiting for Mehdi and Antoine, the “escort boys” she’d contacted through the internet.

“Just because you pay doesn’t mean you should let yourself go,” she tells herself.

After an hour of cocaine and champagne-fuelled sex, she asks Mehdi to hurt her. “Then he started to like it, seeing her twist and turn, hearing her inhuman cries.” In the opening scene of the novel, Adèle studies men in the metro car on her way to work, thinking of each that “he would do”.

She finds the address of a sometime partner in the white mobile phone she keeps secret from her husband, goes to his apartment for sex and then to the office.

A seemingly interminable series of sexual encounters ensue.

They are never titillating, aways sordid and joyless. has just won the Prix La Mamounia; the literary award considered the Moroccan equivalent of the French Prix Goncourt.

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